What does wedding guest dressing look like post-pandemic?
If the flutter of invitations for rescheduled nuptials falling through your letterbox has left you at a loss, allow the very well-dressed crowd at Lady Kitty Spencer’s wedding in Italy this weekend to be your guide.
Maye Musk (the 72-year-old model, writer and mother of Elon), Emma Thynn, Marchioness of Bath, and fashion designer Jade Holland Cooper were among those gathered to see Kitty tie the knot with Michael Lewis in a three-day celebration at the early Baroque-era Villa Aldobrandini just outside Rome.
It was a very fashion crowd, as one would expect for the wedding of a society model and a fashion retail tycoon (Lewis is chairman of the South Africa-based Foschini Group, which owns Whistles and Phase Eight) – and everyone looked the part in the kind of eveningwear that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the red carpet.
Guests were apparently told to “go extra” by the bride, according to model Erin Borini, who wore a black chiffon crystal-embellished Rasario gown. Holland Cooper seized the opportunity to wear a version of that jungle print Versace dress made so famous by Jennifer Lopez, while fashion stylist and designer Becky Bowyer wore a tiered Zayan the Label gown and an emerald slip by Valle & Vik. Sabrina Elba – wife of Idris – went for a more understated – but no less impactful – black evening gown with a central slit detail.
There was certainly no risk of upstaging Kitty, who wore five Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda dresses over the course of the three-day event, and she wasn’t the only one in the label: Maye Musk, Emma Thynn and model Marpessa Hennink all wore Dolce & Gabbana gowns too, lending the event the kind of sartorial cohesion usually only seen at a fashion show.
Fashion PR and stylist Julia Perry looked the part too, in a belted white and gold Zimmermann gown, only to discover that another guest was wearing the exact same design. “I was crushed. Devastated. Fashion deflated,” she wrote on Instagram later. She handled the situation admirably though: “Pulled myself together after a pep talk from the forever wise Maye Musk. Marched up to this gorgeous, much younger guest [and] demanded to meet her boyfriend or husband to make sure he was handsome, should he accidentally take home the wrong girl at the end of the night… He did not disappoint.”
Of course, you don’t need a Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda budget to dress well for post-pandemic weddings, though it certainly helps. There are still some style lessons to be learned about what wedding guest dressing should look like now, and – with apologies to any wallflowers out there – it’s all about making a statement.
Whatever the dress code for friends’ upcoming nuptials, more is more and bigger is better. Having been deprived of the chance to party for so long, we want to seize these opportunities with both hands, and our fashion choices are a visual representation of that.
For wedding guest dressing in 2021, the number one rule to remember is that we should follow Kitty’s lead: if in doubt, “go extra”.